YOU might imagine that someone who has fought in Afghanistan might have little sympathy for the everyday pressures of the workplace.

But former Royal Marine commando Steen Stones has made a business out of coaching people to get the best out of their lives and careers.

“People’s challenges are completely their own. Some of my biggest challenges have been setting up a business on my own,” he says.

The 33-year-old runs Quest Life, based in Bournemouth and specialising in helping people develop psychological resilience.

The anxieties that people can experience when dealing with a work project or personal stress produce exactly the same fight-or-flight symptoms as being in a war zone, he says.

“War is quite straightforward. There’s someone shooting at you and you’ve got to shoot back,” he adds.

Born in London with a Danish mother, he spent his early childhood in Denmark before moving to Norfolk.

He went from school to the leisure industry and was cut out for a career in senior management.

But with a brother in the Royal Marines and another in the Parachute Regiment, he decided to join the marines himself.

He was committed for four years but instantly had doubts. “I had really bad homesickness. Within 60 minutes I thought, what did I just let myself in for?” he says.

There were 32 weeks of gruelling basic training. “They push you harder than you’ve ever been pushed before,” he says. That was followed by a deployment to Norway to learn cold weather warfare.

Along the way, Steen noticed that the people who seemed toughest were often the ones who couldn’t hack it. Inner resilience seemed to be the key to staying the course.

His first tour in Afghanistan, in 2006, was part of an effort to win hearts and minds, but subsequent tours saw heavy casualties.

“When I came back from my second tour, I put in my notice to leave. I had another tour of duty after that which was particularly nasty,” he says.

“The Taliban had realised they couldn’t win a stand-up fight any more.

“They stopped doing that and started mining everything.

“On my third tour I lost a couple of friends and quite a lot of friends ended up losing limbs.”

On two occasions he was first on the scene when a friend was blown up, and he discovered what it is like to have a bullet travel past your head.

After leaving the marines, Steen got a job on Bournemouth seafront. He did a course in neuro linguistic programming (NLP) and began training others.

He was among the team that mounted the UK Charity Row 2015, which rowed 2,200 miles around UK coast.

Quest Life helps people deal with everything from career frustration to fear of public speaking. Steen tells people that resilience involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be taught.

He says: “If you’re not happy with yourself, your weight, your smoking, or want to change your job, you’ve got to take responsibility to make change.”